IHG Hotels spotlights loyalty with biggest campaign in a decade

Supply: IHG Resorts & Resorts by way of Ogilvy

IHG Resorts & Resorts tops the grasp model with the most important marketing campaign funding in 10 years, whereas the corporate behind Vacation Inn Specific and Crowne Plaza Resorts launches its new loyalty program.

The resort large, which at the moment owns 17 manufacturers, celebrates its 6,000th resort opening in additional than 100 nations this yr. The portfolio ranges from “necessities” manufacturers like Vacation Inn Specific to “luxurious and way of life” manufacturers like Kimpton Resorts & Resorts and Regent Resorts & Resorts.

In keeping with Connor Smith, vp of masterbrand technique and consciousness, the IHG enterprise has been on a “journey” over the previous two years, starting with a rebrand of InterContinental Resorts Group in February 2021.

“It wasn’t actually a model that buyers may perceive. InterContinental Resorts Group did not have that ring,” he tells Advertising Week.

“So over the previous few years we have actually gone inside and ready to make our large debut and step into the highlight.”

This journey additionally included the relaunch of its loyalty program, now referred to as IHG One Rewards. The “overhauled” program launched in April this yr, together with an up to date cellular app.

With every part “lastly in place,” Smith says, now felt just like the “excellent time” to go to market with a multimillion-dollar international advertising and marketing marketing campaign.

Launching as we speak (third August) within the UK and US, ‘Visitor How You Visitor’ goals to amplify ‘actual life’ journey moments and display the liberty visitors need to construct their very own expertise at IHG inns, particularly plan by way of the brand new loyalty.

Created by promoting company Grey New York, the marketing campaign options sports activities followers staying on the Vacation Inn Specific to assist their staff on the go, diners at Kimpton Resorts & Eating places taking enterprise calls by the pool, and a pair celebrating by celebrating the Ordered all room service at an InterContinental resort.

The marketing campaign is backed by IHG’s “greatest” funding in media campaigns ever for loyalty, with 1,500 totally different belongings working throughout TV, magazines, out-of-home, on-line and social media.

Whereas the purpose is not for the IHG grasp model to overshadow each single resort, Smith says it has its personal story to inform. In actual fact, the breadth of IHG’s portfolio is likely one of the firm’s “greatest hurdles,” as clients usually do not understand that the 17 manufacturers are interconnected.

“I take into consideration introducing IHG as a household. So in my thoughts, IHG is the final title and every of the manufacturers is a distinct member of the family. Every member of the family is exclusive and particular person, however they’re all sure by some widespread values. That is IHG,” explains Smith.

A part of that’s letting clients know that IHG’s “honest caring” — promised as a part of their worth proposition to “create nice inns that visitors love by offering real hospitality for all” — is accessible throughout all manufacturers is. Going ahead, campaigns for particular person manufacturers will “at all times” be linked to IHG, says Smith.

“What you are going to see and what you are seeing on this marketing campaign actually actually brings IHG to the fore… It is a sturdy model and it may be a stronger model,” he provides.

“The extra we will inform this story and showcase our resort manufacturers in it, the stronger our resort model efficiency will probably be.”

loyalty technique

Whereas IHG had a large loyalty program previous to the launch of IHG One Rewards, Smith stated it “did not work onerous sufficient” and acted successfully as a “thread” tying the corporate’s properties collectively.

The brand new program contains a redesigned tier and level incomes construction with 5 tiers transferring by way of Membership, Silver, Gold, Platinum and Diamond. Clients advance to new ranges by incomes factors or by staying a sure variety of days at an IHG resort, with the very best diamond degree requiring a 70-day keep or 120,000 factors. Perks for Platinum and Elite members embody free breakfast and free upgrades.

All visitors are eligible to pick out a “Milestone Reward” after staying 10 nights at IHG inns 20 nights or extra. These awards could embody meals and beverage awards, a complimentary night time’s lodging, or an annual lounge membership.

We actually wished a inventive platform that displays our perception and method that we’re actual individuals who care about actual folks.

Connor Smith, IHG Resorts & Resorts

In keeping with Smith, client analysis carried out by IHG has proven that individuals not need to be compelled to beat “arbitrary hurdles” to earn rewards.

“What I am actually pleased with about our loyalty program is that there’s a selection factor that enables visitors to create their very own rewards and select how they need to be rewarded,” says Smith.

A “large precedence” for the brand new marketing campaign is to attraction to “the following era of vacationers” and introduce IHG as “a superb firm with sturdy values ​​and wonderful inns,” he added.

However there was additionally a “actual problem” in ensuring the marketing campaign did not alienate the big pool of present visitors the corporate already had in its system.

In the end, Smith believes the model has achieved this by growing such a “enormous” marketing campaign world of 1,500 belongings that enables it to leverage its data-driven media technique to get the correct inventive in entrance of the correct viewers on the proper time place.

“It permits us to push creativity and get a little bit extra nervous when talking to the following era, but additionally to point out the extra comfy and acquainted facet of our model and firm that present visitors already know and love about us,” explains he.

Growth of the inventive

The inventive thought for the marketing campaign ignited at what Smith describes as a “excellent second” of intersection between the corporate’s values ​​and post-pandemic client “do-it-yourself fatigue.”

“There’s this message within the media and on social media that you may obtain perfection in case you simply work onerous sufficient. Whether or not it is studying to sing like Mariah Carey or baking the right bread,” he explains.

“We have additionally seemed out for one another quite a bit over the previous three years. Individuals are drained.”

All of the extra we will say [IHG’s] story and showcase our resort manufacturers in it, the stronger our resort model efficiency will probably be.

Connor Smith, IHG Resorts & Resorts

IHG due to this fact noticed a chance to remind folks what it feels wish to be taken care of as a resort visitor, whereas making it clear that visitors might be their “actual self” at an IHG resort, which in flip contributes to flexibility, who presents the constancy plan.

“We actually wished a inventive platform and a glance that mirrored our perception and method that we’re actual folks caring about actual folks,” says Smith.

“Now we have this actually sturdy story to again that up. I at all times roll my eyes when a model comes out and tries to say one thing they consider in however then cannot put their cash on the road and I actually consider we will.”

The model has teamed up with New York-based videographer and photographer Meredith Jenks, who has by no means shot within the hospitality business and is finest identified for her pictures within the style and editorial worlds, to offer creatives a “human fingerprint”.

Who will win the battle for loyalty?

“Issues aren’t excellent, they do not have a shine. There’s this intentional “caught within the second” really feel that we actually wished to convey as a result of we wished it to point out the vitality that visitors have in our inns. We wished to point out that we’re all actual folks having actual moments, and we wished it to really feel as wealthy, vibrant and colourful as our resort experiences,” says Smith.

“Whereas we have been making an attempt to consider the wildest and most fantastic methods for visitors to remain at our inns, we simply wanted to take a second and take into consideration what we’ll be observing after we’re there. We watch the triplets munch on their fries by the pool on the Vacation Inn. We watch the couple ordering each single room service at InterContinental. We see the ladies celebrating a birthday dressed to the nines and going wild.”

Smith hopes that IHG’s creativity introduced this story to life. Going ahead, the plan is to construct on the momentum he expects from this marketing campaign to proceed connecting with the following era of vacationers and “reinvigorating” present visitors whereas educating folks in regards to the tangible advantages of the loyalty program.

“With that basis of our grasp model, we’ll in all probability begin to deal with extra loyalty and extra hotel-specific tales,” he concludes.

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